COVID-19 Updates

Notice from BPI, as well as updates on the pandemic worldwide, in this post.

The offices of Barks Publications, publishers of Electrical Apparatus Magazine, will be closed Thursday and Friday, and until further notice, due to concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Chicago.

Our home city hasn’t confirmed many cases yet, but one of these was reported at a building quite close to our offices. Our employees will be working from home in the meantime—indefinitely—as the coronavirus situation materializes worldwide.

The World Health Organization officially classified the COVID-19 virus as a pandemic on Wednesday, an upgrade from “outbreak” and “epidemic”, which had previously defined the spread. The WHO defines an epidemic as “the occurrence in a community or region of cases of an illness….clearly in excess of normal expectancy.” The classification of pandemic, however, is “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.”

United States President Donald Trump announced a travel ban that will restrict travel from most of Europe to the states for at least the next 30 days. U.S. citizens currently in Europe are likely to be exempt.

As of Thursday morning, nineteen U.S. states had declared individual states of emergency. Universities and colleges both in the U.S. and abroad have swiftly cancelled in-person classes, moving many of them to online format.

The stock market is taking an unprecedented plunge, falling into a tailspin early Thursday morning and dropping nearly 2,000 points each of the last two days to officially end an 11-year run as a bull market. Now in “bear” mode, frantic stockholders are panicking and selling off stocks in droves.

Medical professionals at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) in Baltimore are tracking the spread of the virus worldwide. You can see a comprehensive breakdown of cases by country, as well as the map above (which shows the outbreak as of 3/11), and more, at this link.

Developments in all arenas spiked this week, with every realm from professional sports (the NBA suspended its season Wednesday, and the NCAA basketball tournament is slated to be played with no fans) to entertainment (mass cancellations and rescheduling of musical concerts and festivals, while actors like Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have announced they have the virus) being impacted.

While effects are far-reaching and frightening, many health professionals are taking drastic measures as precautionary, not to cause more panic. They suggest these measures to help prevent COVID-19’s spread. Also encouraging are the sporadic reports of vaccines being worked on, everywhere from the United States to China’s Tianjin University. The Washington Post, which likes to label things that have been active for less than a year “eras” does provide a helpful video clarifying other terms, such as “quarantine”, “isolation”, and others in its latest article regarding the virus.

In summation, the development has been exponential in the mere three weeks since Chinese factories near the source of the outbreak began stifling production as a precaution. There has been good and bad—while organizations abroad like CWIEME and Hannover Messe have pushed back dates of trade shows, others stateside like EASA announced they will proceed on schedule. For EA readers and the industries we cover, shows in the Chicago area at McCormick Place convention center have been cancelled, as well.

We encourage everyone to read the World Health Organization’s precautionary health guidelines, the simplest of which include washing hands vigorously, wearing protective masks when in public if necessary, and staying indoors when possible. For the time being, we wish everyone a healthy and safe weekend and urge people in general not to panic.

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